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September 13 2012 5 13 /09 /September /2012 06:04

India cartoonist Aseem Trivedi freed from jail on bail

Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi (C) waves after coming out of Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai September 12, 2012.  
Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was targeted for a cartoon depicting four wolves in place of the lions on the national emblem, the Ashoka pillar. Photo: Hindustan Times
Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was targeted for a cartoon depicting four wolves in place of the lions on the national emblem, the Ashoka pillar. Photo: Hindustan Times

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An Indian anti-corruption cartoonist arrested on sedition charges has been freed from prison on bail.

Aseem Trivedi flashed a victory sign as he left Mumbai's Arthur Road jail on Wednesday. Crowds waiting outside waved flags and chanted slogans.

 

Mr Trivedi said his "battle against sedition law and oppressive behaviour by the government will continue".

 

He was arrested over the weekend for cartoons which allegedly mocked India's constitution and national emblem.

On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court said he could be released on bail if he paid 5,000 rupees ($90; £67).

 

Mr Trivedi had earlier refused to pay bail until the charges of sedition were dropped, but later agreed to go ahead with the move.

 

At a court appearance on Monday, two days after his arrest, he had been remanded in custody until 24 September. Tuesday's order granting him bail came after an application from a member of the public.

 

Many Indians see his arrest as an attack on freedom of expression. The cartoonist has been participating in the anti-corruption movement led by campaigner Anna Hazare.

 

Meanwhile, anti-corruption campaigners have said they will begin a protest if the charges of sedition are not dropped.

In one of a series of cartoons, the customary three lions in India's national emblem are replaced with three wolves, their teeth dripping blood, with the message "Long live corruption" written underneath.

 

Another cartoon depicts the Indian parliament as a giant toilet bowl.

 

Government officials say that while they are in favour of free speech, there is a thin line between that and insulting national symbols, the BBC's Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi reports.

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